tv U.S. House of Representatives Legislative Business CSPAN September 26, 2016 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT
of care. this will ensure safe quality health care for veterans. he has been a champion for el paso and turned the concerns into thoughtful legislation that help veterans across our country. mr. speaker, i strongly support this legislation. and i urge my colleagues to support this bill as well. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. miller: i continue to reserve my time. i have no further speakers. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. takano: i would like to yield five minutes to the author of this bill, the gentleman from texas, mr. o'rourke. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for five minutes. . mr. o'rourke: i want to thank mr. takano for his support on the committee, not just
promoting commonsense bills like these but working across the aisle with colleagues on both sides to ensure we move the concerns and the cares of veterans in this country forward. his leadership at this critical time is so important, and i'm grateful for it. i'd also like to thank the chairman of our committee, mr. miller of florida, for his leadership, really ensuring that the house veterans' affairs committee remains one of the most important and perhaps one of the last refuges for bipartisanship in congress. and it is really through his leadership -- and i have been lucky enough to serve with you almost four years -- that we've been able to do some outstanding things for veterans in this country, and i know he'd be the first to agree we are not there yet. there is no mission accomplished banner that hangs behind us, but we have made extraordinary progress under his guidance and his willingness to work with members from both sides of the aisle, all members of the
committee. i am truly grateful for his support of the bill. i should also note, mr. speaker, this bill is co-sponsored by dr. benishek of michigan, a stout defender of veterans and from his medical background, someone who's uniquely capable of informing important legislation like this one. as both of the previous speakers have stated, this ensures we connect veterans in our communities, the places we represent, with the care they have earned and that they deserve. in the v.a. today, we have an acknowledged shortage of 43,000 clinical positions. we have to acknowledge we will not be able to see every single veteran in the instances when they most need care with current capacity within the v.a. therefore, it is incumbent upon us to ensure we leverage capacity the doctors and nurses and providers and the communities we represent to the best of our ability. critical to that is health information exchange record sharing so that the doctors and
the community know what they need to know about the veteran they are about to see so they are able to deliver the best, most informed care and we get the best outcome for these veterans. this bill ensures we share medical information effectively, privately, conforming to hipaa, maintaining the veteran's privacy and yet effectively ensure the veteran gets the care they have earned, that they need, that they deserve and thanks to this committee and its leadership they are finally beginning to get. those who are charged with ensuring that we coordinate care between the v.a. and private providers say that this is the most critical thing for us to do if we are to effectively share patient record information. it's estimated that today only about 3% of veterans proactively opt in to this record sharing. that means that most of them are not getting the fully informed care they would otherwise get. i ask my colleagues to join me
in support of this bill, which would go a long way to ensuring that we do everything we can with the capacity both within the v.a. and outside of the v.a. to deliver critical care to our veterans who are most in need. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. miller: again, we'll reserve our time. we are prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. takano: mr. speaker, we are prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. takano: mr. speaker, i have no further speakers. i ask my colleagues to join me in passing this legislation, h.r. 5162. i once again thank my colleague, the gentleman from texas, mr. o'rourke, for his passionate advocacy for veterans. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. miller: thank you very much, mr. speaker. again, i urge all my colleagues to support this important piece of legislation. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the
bill h.r. 5162. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? mr. miller: mr. speaker, i move to prulls and pass h.r. 539 -- suspend the rules and pass h.r. 5392. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 5392, a bill to direct the secretary of veterans affairs to improve the veterans crisis line. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from florida, mr. miller, and the gentleman from california, mr. takano, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: thank you very much, mr. speaker. again, i'd ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and add extraneous material. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. miller: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. miller: i rise today in no rt of h.r. 5392, the
crisis line call should go unanswered act. over time, v.c.l.'s mission has expanded to include veterans facing all manners of personal emergencies, and the veterans crisis line has included a text service and operation and yet the place where veterans crisis would be able to get the help that they need anytime of day or night. however, earlier this year, the v.a. inspector general found that some calls to the crisis line were routed to backup crisis centers, and ultimately sent to voicemail and other
line callers did not receive the immediate assistance that they desperately needed. the i.g. also noted that v.a. failed to provide a directive or handbook dealing the guidance necessary for the proper veteran crisis line processes and procedures, and it failed to provide adequate orientation and training to crisis line staff. t failed to monitor contracted backup call centers, and experienced a number of quality assurance gaps. the v.a. has assured us that these issues have been addressed and will never happen again. the risk of leaving a veteran in the midst of a crisis alone and without help is unacceptable to any member of this body. h.r. 5392 would require that v.a. develops a quality assurance document that includes clearly defined
measurable performance standards with appropriate timelines and benchmarks to improve responsiveness and outcomes that the crisis line, main line and contracted backup call centers. it would also require v.a. to develop a plan to ensure that each telephone call, each text message or other communications received by the crisis line, main line or at a contracted backup call center is answered in a timely manner by an appropriate qualified live person. consistent with the guidance established by the american association of suicideology. this bill is sponsored by my friend and colleague, congressman david young from iowa. i want to thank him for his efforts on his -- and his leadership on sponsoring this very important and to some very simple fix to something that needs to be taken care of.
nothing could be more important than guaranteeing that our nation's -- guaranteed timely access to the veteran services and supports that they need in an emergency situation, and i urge all of my colleagues to support this common sense piece of legislation. mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. takano: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. takano: i rise today regarding h.r. 5392, the no veterans crisis line call should go unanswered act. the veterans crisis line actually provides three ways veterans can access help when they are in crisis. veterans, service members and their loved ones can call the 1-800 number, send a text imagine or chat online to receive -- text message or chat online to receive support 24
hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year even if they are not registered with the v.a. or enrolled in v.a. health care. the responders at the veterans crisis line are trained and helping veterans of all ages and circumstances, from those culping with mental health issues that were not addressed to recent veterans dealing with relationships or the transition back to civilian life. since its launch in 2007 through may, 2016, the veterans crisis line has answered over 2.3 million calls and initiated calls patch of emergency nearly 61,000 times. this bill requires improvements to the veterans crisis line by having the v.a. create quality assurance guidelines that will include clearly defined and measurable performance indicators and objectives to
improve the responsiveness and performance of the veterans crisis line. this bill also requires the v.a. to develop a plan to ensure that each telephone call, text message and other communications received by the veterans crisis line is answered in a timely manner by a person consistent with the guidance established by the american association of so you sideology. as suicide prevention awareness month comes to a close, congress must take these necessary steps to improve the veterans crisis line for all veterans who depend on it. i support this legislation and urge its passage. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. miller: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i'm proud now to introduce the sponsor of this important piece of legislation, the gentleman from the third district of iowa, from the small town of van meter, iowa, home to bob feller, the heater from van
meeter, three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for three minutes. mr. young: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. chairman, thank you. mr. speaker, earlier this year i introduced the no veterans cry lins line should go unanswered act -- crisis line should go unanswered act, a bipartisan piece of legislation . doing this after hearing from a constituent who called the veterans crisis line for help but never was connected to a live person. though i've spoken on the floor about this issue before as well as others, i remain deeply concerned by the many struggles and challenges our veterans face as they transition from active duty to civilian life and beyond. these are brave women and men who have sacrificed much in service to their country. now, our service members have given up holidays, missed birthdays, weddings and other important life events of their family members and communities and friends. they've been mobilized or deployed to some of the most
volatile regions of the world for months on end, and the list goes on. they are our friends, family and neighbor, and they make significant sacrifices because they believe in this great nation and strive to protect the freedoms we've guaranteed. now, unfortunately, more and more veterans carry deep scars, emotional war wounds, ones we cannot see. these men and women deserve our support. now, our country has a responsibility to ensure our brave veterans not only have the benefits that they've earned but have access to services and resources intended to help them through the storms of life. mr. speaker, it is hard for anyone to ask for help sometimes, and the sad fact is today and every day this week, 20 veterans will take their lives. so it is unacceptable for any veteran who is reaching out for help and a listening ear to be turned away unanswered
especially when life can mean the difference between life and death. that's why i introduced with bipartisan support from my colleagues legislation to make critical improvements to the veterans crisis line. this bipartisan bill requires the v.a. to create and implement documented plans to improve responsiveness and performance of the crisis line, an important step to ensure our veterans have unimpeded access to the mental health resources that they need. even if v.a. has acknowledged these problems which were also documented in two separate investigations conducted by the v.a. office of inspector general and the government accountability office. this bill drives accountability within the veterans crisis line, ensuring any call or text or messages are answered and ensuring the quality processes, including those guiding staff training, are addressed and provided to congress. our women and men in uniform have answered our nation's call. we must work to do better to
ensure their calls do not go unanswered. mr. speaker, i want to especially thank chairman miller and his staff for working so closely with me on this bill. it's a pleasure of serving with you, chairman miller, and your leadership on these issues will be missed. september is national suicide prevention awareness month. it's only fitting that we pass this bill today to help our veterans. i ask my colleagues to support this bill. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. takano: mr. speaker, at this time it's my honor to yield five minutes to the highest ranking noncommissioned officer to serve in congress, the gentleman from minnesota, my colleague and friend, mr. walz. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from minnesota is recognized. mr. walz: i thank the gentleman for his unwavering work for the care of our veterans. at a time when partisanship seems to win the day or be on
the news, i can assure you that the care of our nation's veterans knows no political boundaries. i also want to thank the gentleman from iowa for bringing this bill forward. like everything else in life, there's a symmetry to things. i think the story of how we got to this point could be well spoken or well told. the gentleman represents the third district of iowa, the new one. but back in 2006 there was a young army reservist, grew up in a small community in iowa, down the road from where they filmed "field of dreams." he returned from iraq a week before thanksgiving in 2006, and joined his family. that evening of thanksgiving, joshua took his own life in front of his mother. the crushing loss of a son, crushing loss of a son of the midwest was overwhelming. but the family did something americans do and something this
nation has always done take turned their grief into action. they went to their congressman at that time, himself a decorated vietnam veteran and helicopter pilot and put together what became the joshua omvi fwmbings suicide prevention act. this was in 2007 when no one was talking to about 20 veterans a day, or mental health, or transition. we were in the heart of the iraq war, we are in afghanistan. our veterans were coming back and rightfully noted, we were unprepared for them. so this piece of legislation, there's a couple of sections in here that are very clear, and mr. young's legislation does what it should do. provide oversight and improve on legislation. 1720 said the v.a. would establish mental health care. the secretary should provide mental health care on a 24-hour basis. it would provide a hotline for this to be staffed by
appropriate mental health profession also. since that time, 2.5 million calls have been made to that hotline. 300,000 online chat, 55,000 texts. when someone calls that line they are at a breaking point. one of our warriors is at a point where they have nowhere else to turn. and the intent of this congress and this this nation was provide them the resources and trained personnel necessary. what was noted in a g.a.: o. report what mr. young noted, what this committee has noted, the vmpt a. was not fulfilling fully what they should have. if one veteran falls through the cracks, we have fail. i don't care if 2.5 million were helped, if 2.5 million plus one that one was failed, we failed. we ask the v.a. to do what they're supposed to do and report back to congress so we can prvide oversight. so i thank the committee and che chairman for doing what we're supposed to do.
we are making sure the v.a. fulfills its commitment to chair for our veterans. of this championed by the parents of a warrior who took his own life. keep in mind, when this championed, we did not even bury our veterans who took their own lives with military honor. it was believed they weren't casualties in of war. in the 10 years since that time we have made strides, we have made progress, and weness that the cost of war continues on. so mr. young, i want to thank you for continuing the legacy that comes out of iowa, the deep care for those that serve in our heartland, continuing that bipartisan legacy of the third district of iowa to improve on a real injury -- really smart, needed piece of legislation. i encourage my colleagues to support this and encourage, mr. speaker this body to continue to find ways to solve problems, work together, and show that when it comes to unity around our veterans, there's not an inch of daylight between the two sides of this body. with that, i yield back the remainder of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from california
reserves. the gentleman from florida is recognized. >> it is my honor now to give to the gentleman from maine, the me troll liss of oakland, maine, mr. poliquin. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. poliquin: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, mr. chairman, for recognizing that oakland is a metropolis. i want to thank you for bringing this important, bipartisan bill to the floor and i want to salute david young from iowa, the congressman who has been in the lead with respect to this issue. mr. speaker, when i was a boy growing up in central maine, our brave men and women in uniform who were returning from the battlefield ovietnam were not -- battlefield of vietnam were not treated well. i remember those days. a lot of us also do. i believe you are country, mr. speaker, has learned a lesson that that shall never happen
again. adly, mr. speaker, today, 22 veterans commit suicide in our country every day. and the majority of those veterans have served in vietnam. now one of our veterans, when one of our veterans, any veteran, is in trouble and they call the crisis hotline, we need to make sure those phones are answered. and the individuals on the other end, our heroes, are not hung up on, inadvertently or otherwise. we need to make sure we take care of our veterans. and mr. speaker, in the state of maine, we love our vet ans. the -- our veterans. the character of our country is measured in great part by how we treat our veterans. and i am thrilled to co-sponsor this bill because it will help correct this issue.
i would like to close, mr. chairman, with a quote from george washington. the willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by our nation. plmp, thank you very much. mr. young, thank you very much for bringing this important legislation to the floor. mr. speaker, thank you for the time. i encourage everybody in this chamber, republicans and democrats, get behind this terrific bipartisan piece of legislation. i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. takano: it is my pleasure to yield four minutes to the gentlewoman from haye, ms. gabard, a member of they have -- from hawaii, ms. gabbard, a member of the hawaiian national
guard and an iraq war veteran. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. gabbard: not too long ago, i was woken up abruptly one more than miranda warning by text message from a friend of mine i served and trained with in the armyful his message was alarming because it came after many onths of struggle in his life. nightmares, post-traumatic stress, many late nights, staying up, self-medicating with alcohol, troubles with his family, and a constant desire coming from him that the only way he knew how to deal with the challenges that he had was to deploy again. and again. and again. finally, he was home and he got to a point where he felt comfortable asking for help. he summoned up the courage one kay, he was at his civilian job during the day, finally to call his local v.a. help line and he got a voice mail.
this strong, battle-worn, courageous infantryman broke down in tears and ran out of the office building where he worked. his frustration and disappointments and even heart break was palpable, that even ep as he had spent so many -- even as he had spent so many years of his life answering the call to duty, again and again and again, sacrificing so much, at that one moment that he made that very difficult decision to finally ask for help no, one was there. no one answered the phone. he detailed this in a text message to me and i immediately called him and spent a couple of hours on the phone with him, talking things through. i thanked him, he said, sorry for bothering you about this, but i thanked him for making that call and let -- and letting me know what happened to him, giving me the opportunity to not only see how i could help him,
as my friend, but to see how we, collectively, can take action to help all our brothers and sisters who are unfortunately many of whom are going through challenges that are not so different from his. just a few days ago, a veteran in my district called the veterans crisis line for the first time. her psychologist encouraged her to place a test call to the crisis line so she could feel comfortable with how it worked, that she could see how it worked, that she would feel comfortable making that phone call in the future, if she got to a point where she needed it. at a point of emergency. so she called that number with her psychologist and they waited on hold for 24 minutes. it took 24 minutes before someone finally answered the phone. now i can tell you when i call the airlines to change a reservation, when i call the bank to deal with an issue, i get frustrated when i get placed
on hold for five minutes. or 10 minutes. i feel like this is a waste of my time, aisle going to hang up the phone. -- i'm going to hang up the phone. it is virtually impossible for most people to understand that when someone has a bottle of prescription drugs in their hand, or a gun, or they're on the verge of taking their own life and they're sitting on hold for 24 minutes, what do we think the outcome will be? sometimes we're seeing that the shortcomings and gaps in the v.a. have been filled by phone call networks that have been slapped together by troops, whether they're soldiers, marines, airmen, sailors, who are looking out for their buddies. doing what they can to make sure that everyone's got each other's phone numbers so if you get to that point where you need help you've got someone to call who is going to answer the phone, who is going to talk you down from the edge, helping to make sure that after they survived the rigors and hor recovers war
and combat that they have a chance to live in peace when they come home. with the average of 22 veterans, who go through all of that and who do come home yet are still taking their lives every dingell -- single day, we cannot afford to give up. we cannot afford 24 minutes on hold. mr. speaker, i request 30 seconds. mr. takano: i yield 30 seconds to the gentlewoman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for 30 seconds. ms. gabbard: this is why i have co-sponsored this critical legislation and i commend my colleague from iowa for sponsoring it. this bill establish quality standards and metrics to make sure that every call to the veterans crisis line is answered quickly and by a live, trained person. i urge my colleagues to join me in passing this legislation today because the lives of our
veterans depend on it. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. the gentleman from california reserves. the gentleman from florida is recognized. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i have no more speakers that the time, we're prepared to close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. takano: i have no further speakers. i will close. i ask all my colleagues to vote in favor of this legislation. i thank my colleagues who came to the floor to speak in support of h.r. 5392, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from florida is recognized. >> i too urge all the -- mr. miller: i too aurge all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this piece of legislation and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 5392? those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair --
mr. takano: i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having risen, the yeas and nays are ordered. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, further proceedings on this postponed. l be for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? mr. miller: mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass p for what purpose does h.r. 3216. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 3216 a bill to amend title 38 united states code to clarify the emergency hospital care furnished by the secretary of veterans affairs to certain veterans. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from florida, mr. miller, and the gentleman from california, mr. takano, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida. mr. miller: i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks or add extraneous material. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. miller: i yield myself such
time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. miller: i rise in support of h.r. 3216, the veterans emergency treat or vet act. it should be common sense that if a veteran is in need of medical attention and they arrive on the grounds of a department of veterans' affairs medical facility, that they veteran would be seen, assessed, and treated immediately. however, recently a veteran experiencing a medical emergency in washington state traveled as far as the parking lot of his local v.a. emergency room before finding he could go no further and calling v.a. to ask for help making it through the doors. mr. speaker, he was told by the v.a. staff who answered his call that he should hang up and dial 911. to hear v.a. staff expressing an unwillingness or an be a
rehention about assisting a veteran in the midst of -- or apprehension about assisting a veteran in the midst of an emergency in their parking lot is not only unacceptable, it's emblematic of how v.a. has lost its way. h.r. 3216 would require v.a. to determine whether a medical emergency exists among any enrolled veteran presenting at a v.a. facility and prohibit v.a. from transferring a medically unstable veteran unless the veteran makes a written request to be transferred or they find it is clinically unnecessary. it would also prohibit v.a. from taking an adverse action against any employee for refusing to authorize a transfer or prevent v.a. from delaying needed care to inquire about payment method or
insurance status. this legislation would help ensure that in the case of a medical emergency a veteran's health remains the number one priority where it should always belong. this bill is sponsored by my friend and colleague, ongressman dan newhouse from washington state. i'm grateful for him sponsoring this measure, and i ask my colleagues to join me in support of this. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. takano: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. takano: i rise today regarding h.r. 3216, the veterans emergency treatment act. this bill requires that if an enrolled veteran in the v.a. requests treatment at a v.a. emergency department he or she will get that examination or treatment whether or not it is related to a service-connected condition. it also prohibits the v.a. from
transferring a patient to another facility without the written consent of that veteran unless a physician deems the transfer medically necessary. it prohibits -- it further prohibits the v.a. from taking adverse action against any v.a. employee for refusing to authorize the transfer of an unrolled veteran, contrary to the veteran's wishes. the purpose of this legislation is to have the v.a. follow the emergency medical treatment and labor act. mr. speaker, i support this bill, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. miller: mr. speaker, at this time it's my honor to yield four minutes to the gentleman from the fourth district of washington state, mr. newhouse, the sponsor of this piece of legislation. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington is recognized for four minutes. mr. newhouse: thank you, mr. speaker. and i want to thank the gentleman from florida for yielding me some time to speak on this important bill. president abraham lincoln once famously charged all americans with the responsibility to care
for him who shall have borne the battle. if you speak with a veteran today, you will learn that the quality of health care provided to them many times does not reflect this duty. in recent years we've learned of multiple incidents where the v.a. failed to provide emergency care to veterans in need. in addition to the incident that happened if my home state, another notable incident occurred in new mexico in the year 2014 when a veteran collapsed in a cafeteria of a v.a. facility and ultimately died when the v.a. refused to transport him 500 yards across the campus to the e.r. my legislation will ensure that every enrolled veteran who arrives at the emergency department of a v.a. medical facility seeking emergency treatment is assessed and treated in order to prevent further injury or death. this is accomplished by
applying the statutory requirements of the emergency medical treatment and labor act or emtala, funished by the v.a. to our veterans. this is a 1986 federal statute that grants every individual a federal right to emergency care. it requires a hospital to conduct a mdcal examination to determine if an emergency medical condition exists. if one does, then the hospital must either stabilize the patient or aeffectuate a proper transfer at the patient's request. currently v.a. hospitals are considered to be nonparticipating hospitals and therefore are not obligated to fulfill the requirements of emtala. the vet act will remove the nonparticipating designation from v.a. hospitals and require them to fulfill the requirements of the emtala just as every other hospital does.
mr. speaker, i urge the house to support and pass h.r. 3216. it is time we ensure that our veterans receive proper medical treatment during emergency medical situations all without requiring additional spending. mr. speaker, i reserve -- i yield the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from florida reserves. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. takano: mr. speaker, i have no more speakers, and i am prepared to close. i ask my colleagues to join me in supporting h.r. 3216, the veterans emergency treatment act, and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from florida is recognized. mr. miller: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i, too, ask all of my colleagues to support mr. newhouse's piece of legislation. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 3216. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no.
in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? mr. miller: we have no more legislation at this time, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess until approximately 6:30 p.m. today.
way at 7:30 eastern, the debate itself at 9:00 p.m. eastern. we take a look next at the first presidential debit from 2004 between president george w. bush and senator john kerry. [applause] >> good evening, mr. president, senator kerry. as determined by coin toss, the first question goes to you, senator kerry. do you believe you could do a better job than president bush in preventing another 9/11-type
terrorist attack on the united tates? yes, i do, but before i answer further i want to thank you for moderating, i want to thank the university of miami for hosting us and i know the president will join me in welcoming all of florida to this debate. you've been through the roughest weeks anybody could imagine. our hearts go out to you and we admire your pluck and perseverance. i can make america safer than president bush has made us. and i believe president bush and i both love our country equally but we have a different set of convictions about how you make america safe. i believe america is safest and strongest when we are leading the world and we are leading strong alliances. i'll never give a veto to any country over our security but i also know thousand to lead those alliances. this president has left them in
shatters across the globe and we're now 90% of the casualties in iraq, 903k9 of the -- 90% of the costs. i think that's wrong. i think we can do better. i have a better plan for homeland security. i have a better plan to be able to fight the war on terror by strengthening our military, strengthening our intelligence. by going after the financing more authoritatively. by doing what we need to do to rebuild alliances. by reaching out to the muslim world, which the president almost has not done. and beginning to's late the radical islamic muslims, not have them isolate the united states of america. i know i can do a better job in iraq, i have a plan to have a summit with all the allies, something this president has not yet achieved, not yet been able to do to bring people to the table. we can do a better job of training the iraqi forces to defend themselves an i know we can do a better job of preparing for leches.
all these and especially homeland security, which we'll talk about later. host: mr. president, you have 90 seconds to respond. president bush: i too, thank the university of miami and say our prayers are with the good people of this state who have suffered a lot. september 11 changed how america must look at the world. and since that day, our nation has been on a multipronged strategy to keep our country safer. alpursued al qaeda, wherever qaeda tries to hide. 70% of known al qaeda leaders have been brought to justice this erest of them know we're after them. we've upheld the doctrine that said if you harbor a terrorist you're equally as guilty as the terrorist and the taliban in long for the power, 10 million people are registered to vote in the upcoming presidential election. in iraq we saw a threat and we realized that after september 11, we must take threats seriously before they fully
materialize. -- am hussein announced saddam hussein now sits in a prison cell and america and ethe world are safer for it. we continue to pursue a policy pursue ng those who weapons of mass destruction. -- free neighs will reject terror. free nations will help us achieve the peace we all want. host: your question, mr. president, two minutes. do you believe the election of senator kerry on november 2 would increase the chances of the u.s. being hit by another 9/11-type terrorist attack? president bush: i don't believe it's going to happen. i believe i'm going to win because the american people know i know how to lead. i've shown the american people i know how to lead.
i have -- i understand everybody in this country doesn't agree with the decisions i've made. i made some tough decisions. but people know where i stand. people out there listen know what i believe. and that's how best to the keep the peace. this nation of hours has got a solemn duty to defeat this ideology of hate, and that's what they are. this is a group of killers who will not only kill here but kill children in russia, that'll attack unmercifully in iraq, hoping to shake our will. we have a duty to defeat this enemy. we have a duty to protect our children and grandchildren. the best way to defeat them is to never waver, to be strong, to use every asset at our disposal. to constantly stay on the offensive.
and at the same time, spread liberty. and that's what the people are seeing now is happening in afghanistan. 10 million citizens have registered to vote. it's a phenomenal statistic. if given a chance to be free, they'll show up at the polls. 41% of those 10 million are women. in iraq, no doubt about it, it's tough. it's hard work. it's incredibly hard. you know why? because an enemy realizes the stakes. the enemy understands a free iraq will be a major defeat in their ideology of hay trett. that's why they're fighting so vociferously. they showed up in afghanistan when they were there and tried to beat us and they didn't. they're showing up in iraq too for the same reason. but if we remain resolute we'll defeat this enemy. host: 90-second response, senator kerry. senator kerry: i believe in being strong, resolute, and determined.
i will hunt down and kill the terrorists wherever they are. but we also have to be smart, jim. and smart means not diverting your attention from the real war on terror in afghanistan against osama bin laden and taking it off to iraq where the 9/11 commission confirms there was no connection to 9/11 itself and saddam hussein and the reason for going to war was weapons of mass destruction, not the removal of saddam hussein. 24 president has made, i regret to say a klossal error of judgment and judgment is what we look for in the president of the united states of america. i'm proud that important military figures are supporting me in this race. former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. just yesterday, general eisenhower's son endorsed me. general admiral william crowell. general tomei mcpique who ran the air force so well for his
father. all believe i would make a strong command for the chief. they believe it because they know i wouldn't take my eye off the goal, osama bin laden. unfortunately, he escaped in the mountains tora bora, we had him surrounded. but we didn't use american forces the best trained in the world, to go kill him. the president relied on afghan war lords that he outsourced that job to and that's wrong. host: your question, two minutes, senator kerry. colossal misjudgments. what colossal misjums has president bush made in this area? senator kerry: first of all , he made the misjudgment of saying to america that he was going to build a true alliance, that he would exhaust the remedies of the united nations and go through the inspections. in fact , he first didn't even want to do that. and it wasn't until former secretary of state jim baker and joan scowcroft and others pushed publicly and said you've got to go to the u.n., that the
president finally changed his mind, his campaign has aword for that, and went to the united nations. now, once there, we could have continued those inspections. we have saddam hussein trapped. we also promised america he would go to war as a last resort. those words mean something to me as somebody who has been in combat. last resort. you've got to be able to look in the eyes of families and say to those parents, tried to do everything in my power to flevpbt loss of your son and daughter. i don't believe the united states did that. we pushed our alryes aside. so today, we are 90% of the casualties and 90% of the costs. $200 billion. $200 billion that could have been used for health care, for schools, for construction, for prescription drugs for seniors. and it's in iraq. and iraq is not even the center they have foe coufs the war on terror. the center is afghanistan, where incidentally, there were more americans killed last year than the year before.
where the opium production is 75% of the world's opium production. where 40% to 60% to have the economy of afghanistan is based on opium. where the elections have been postponed three times. the president moved the troops. so he's got 10 times the numb of troops in iraq than he has in afghanistan where osama bin laden is. does that mean that saddam hussein was 10 times more than important than -- saddam hussein more important than osama bin laden? i don't think so. host: 90-sect response, mr. president. president bush: my opponent looked at the same intelligence i looked at and declared in 2002 that saddam hussein was a grave threat he also said in december of 2003 that anyone who doubts that the world is safer without saddam hussein does not have the judgment to be president. i agree with him. the world is better off without saddam hussein.
i was hope diplomacy would work. i understand the serious consequences of committing our troops in harm' way. it's the hardest decision a president makes. so i went to the united nations, i didn't need anybody to tell me to go to the united nations, i desaied -- decided to go there myself. i went there hoping that once and for all, the free world would act in concert to get saddam hussein to -- to listen to our demands. they passed a resolution that said, disclose, disarm, or face serious consequences. i believe when an international body speaks, it must mean what it says. saddam hussein had no intention of disarticling. why should he? he had 16 other resolutions and nothing took place. as a matter of fact, my opponent talks about inspectors. the facts are that he was systematically deceiving the inspectors. that wasn't going to work. that's kind of a pre-september 10 mentality, the hope that somehow resolutions and failed inspections would make this world a more peaceful place. he was hoping we'd turn away.
but there's fortunately others beside myself who believe we ought to take action, and we did. the world is safer would saddam hussein. host: what about senator kerry's point, the comparison he drew about the priorities of going after osama bin laden and going after saddam hussein? president bush: we've got the capability of doing both. as a matter of fact, this is a global effort. a group of a -- folks who have such hatred in their heart, they'll strike anywhere. with any means. that's why it's essential we have strong alliances, and we do. that's why it's essential that we make sure that we keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of people like al qaeda, which we are. but to say that there's only one focus on the war on terror doesn't understand the nature of the war on terror.
of course we're after saddam hussein -- osama bin laden. he's isolated. 75% of his people have been brought to justice. the killer, the master mind of the september 11 attacks, khalid sheikh-mohammed is in prison. we're making progress. but the front on the war is more than just one place. the philippines. we've got -- we're helping them there to bring al qaeda affiliates to justice there. and of course iraq is a central part of the war on terror. that's why zarqawi and his people are trying to fight us. their hope is we gre weary and we leave. the biggest daster that could happen is that we not succeed in iraq. we will succeed. we've got a plan to do so. and the main reason we'll succeed is because the iraqis want to be free. and the -- i had the honor of visiting with prime minister allawi. he's a strong, courageous leader he believes in the freedom of
the iraqi people. he doesn't want u.s. leadershipping however, to send mixed signals. to not stand with the iraqi people. he believes like i believe that the iraqis are ready to fight for their own freedom, they just need help to be trained. we're spending reconstruction money. and our alliance is strong. that's the plan for victory. when iraq is free, america will be more secure. host: senator kerry, 90 seconds. senator kerry: the president talked about iraq as a center in the war on terror. iraq was not even close to the center of the war on terror before the president invaded it. the president made the judgment to divert forces from under general tommy franks from afghanistan before the congress even approved it to begin to prepare to go to war in iraq. and he rushed to war in iraq without a plan to win the peace. now that is not the judgment that a president of the united states ought to make. you don't take america to war
unless you have a plan to win the peace. you don't send troops to war without the body armor that they need. i met kids in ohio, parents in wisconsin, places, iowa, where they're going out on the internet to get the state of the art body gear to send to their kids. some of them got them for birth kay presents. i think that's wrong. humvees. 10,000 out of 12,000 humvees over there aren't armored. go visit some of those kids in the hospital today who were maimed because they don't have the armament. this president, i don't know if he sees what's happening over there. but it's getting worse by the day. more soldiers killed in june than before, more in july than june, more in august than july, more in september than in august. now we see beheadings. we've got weapons of mass destruction crossing the border every single day. they're blowing people up. and we don't have enough troops there. president bush: may i respond?
host: let's do a one-minute extension, 30 seconds. president bush: my opponent wants you to forget he voted for the use of force now says it's the wrong war at the wrong time and wrong place. i don't see how you can lead this country to succeed in iraq when you say wrong war, wrong time, wrong place. what message does that send our troops? what message does it send iraqis? the way to win this is to be steadfast and resolved and follow through on the plan i just outlined. host: 30 seconds. senator kerry: yes, we have to be steadfast and resolved and i am. i will succeed for the troops now that we're there. we have to succeed. we can't leave a failed iraq. that doesn't mean it was a -- it wasn't a mistake of judgment to go there and take the the cause off osama bin laden. it was. now we can sked. -- succeed. i don't believe this president can. i believe we need a president who has the credible to bring the allies back to the table and do what's necessary to make it
so america isn't doing this alone. host: we'll come back to iraq in a moment but i want to come back to where i began, homeland security. s that two-minute, new question, senator kerry. as president, what would you do specifically in addition to or differently to increase the homeland security of the united states than what president bush is doing? senator kerry: let me tell you exactly what i'll do. there are a long list of thing. first of all, what kind of mixed message does it spend when you've got $500 million going over to iraq to put police officers in the streets of iraq and the president is cutting the cops program in america? what kind of message does it send to be sending money to open fire houses in iraq but we're shutting fire houses, who are the first responders, here in america. the president hasn't put one nickel, not one nickel into the effort to fix some of our tunnels and bridges and most exposed subway systems. that's why they have to close down the subway in new york when the republican convention was there. we haven't done the work that
oug to be done. the president, 95% of the containers that come into the ports, right here in florida, are not inspected. sillians get onto aircraft, their luggage is x-rayed but the cargo hold is not x-rayed. does ta make you feel safer, america? this president thought it was more important to give the wealthiest people in america tax cut, rather than invest in home lan security. those aren't my values. i believe in protecting america first. and long before president bush and i get a tax cut, and that's who gets it, long before we do, i'm going to invest in homeland security and aisle going to make sure we're not cutting cops programs in america and we're fully staffed in our fire houses and that we protect the nuclear and chemical plants this epresident also unfortunately gave in to the chemical industry which didn't want to do some of the things to strengthen our chemical plant exposure. there's an enormous, undone job to protect the loose nuclear
materials in the world to get the terrorists. that's a whole other subject. i'd say we still have a little more time, let me quickly say, at ethe current pace, the president will not secure the loose material in the former soviet union for 13 years. i'm going to do it in four years and we'll keep it out of the hands of terrorists. host: 90-second response. president bush: i don't think we want to talk about how he's going to pay for these promises, that's for another debate. my administration has tripled the amount of money we're spending on homeland security to $30 billion a year. my administration worked with the congress to create the department of homeland security so we could better coordinate our borders and ports. we get 1,000 extra border patrol on the northern border. we are modernizing our borders. we spent $3.1 billion for fire and police. $3.1 billion. we're doing our duty to provide the funding.
but the best way to protect this homeland is to stay on the offense. you know, we have to be right 100% of the time. the enemy only has to be right once to hurt us. there's a lot of good people working hard, and by the way, f.b.i. to changed the counterterrorism as the number one priority. we're communicating better. we're going to reform our intelligence services to maher sure we get the best intelligence possible. the patriot act is vital, is vital that the congress renew the patriot act which enables our law enforcement to disrupt terror cells. but again, i repeat to my fell he citizens the best way to protect is to stay on the offense. host: 30 seconds. senator kerry: the president said he changed the culture.
we just read on the front page america's papers, that there are over 100,000 hours of tapes not listened to. the test isn't whether you're spend manager money. the test is are you doing everything possible to make america safe? we didn't need that tax cut. merica needed to be safe. president bush: i wake up evidence how best to protect america. that's my job. i worked with director mueller of the f.b.i. and he comes in my office every morning about how to protect us. there is a lot of good people doing so. it's hard work. we are doing everything at home, but you better have a president who chases the terrorists down and bring them to justice before they hurt us again. host: what criteria would you
use to determine when to start bringing u.s. troops home from iraq? president bush: let me first tell you that the best way for iraq to be safe and secure is for iraqi citizens to be trained to do the job and that's what we are doing. 100,000 trained and another 125,000 by the end of this year. 200,000 by the end of next year. that is the best way. i believe iraqi citizens want to protect themselves. prime minister believes they want to. the best indication of when we can bring our troops home, which i want to do so, i want to do so because we achieved an objective. see the iraqis perform. see the iraqis step up and take response bill. to answer your question is when our generals on the ground and ambassador says they are ready
and elections will have been held, that stability and they are on their way. that's when. i hope it's as soon as possible. putting artificial deadlines won't work. my opponent said give me elected and i'll get them out of there in six months. you can't do that and expect to win the war on terror. my message to our troops, thank you for what you are doing and we'll give you the equipment you need and get you home as soon as the mission is done. a free iraqi will be an ally on the war on terror and that's essential. free iraq will set a example. a free iraq will secure israel, . free iraq will enforce a free iraq is essential for the
security of this country. host: 90 seconds. senator kerry: my message to the troops is also thank you for what they're doing but help is on the way. i believe those troops deserve better than what they are getting today. it's interesting when i was in a rope line coming out here from wisconsin, a couple of returneys were back. and looked at me and said we need you. you've got to help us over there. there is a better way to do this. the president's father did not go into iraq beyond basra and the reason he didn't say and he wrote in his book is because there was no viable exit strategy and said our troops would be occupy years in a bitterly hostile land. that's where we find ourselves.
there is a sense of american occupation. the only building that was guarded was the oil ministry. we didn't guard the nuclear facilities or the fourn office where you might have found weapons of mass destruction. we didn't guard the borders. almost every step of the way our troops have been left on these extraordinary difficult missions. i know what it's like. and i believe our troops need other allies helping. i'm going to hold that summit and bring fresh credibility a new start and we will get the job done right. host: i think it's worthy for a follow-up. we can do 30 seconds each here. president bush: my opponent says help is on the way. what does it say to our troops, wrong place, wrong time. that's not a message or a great
diversion. as well, help is on the way, but certainly hard to tell when you voted against the supplemental to provide equipment to our troops and say he voted for it before he voted against it. that's not what a commander in chief does when you are trying to lead troops. senator kerry: when i talk about the $87 billion, i made a mistake in how i talk about the war. but the president made a mistake in invading iraq. which is worst? i believe that when you know something's going wrong, you make it right. that's what i learned in vietnam. when i came back from that war, i saw it was wrong. some people don't like that i stood up to say no but i did. and i'm going to lead those troops to victory. host: senator kerry, speaking to vietnam, you spoke in 1971 after
you came back and said how do you ask the man to be the last man to die for a mistake. are americans now dying in iraq for a mistake? senator kerry: no. we need the leadership i'm offering. we have to win this. the president and i agreed on that. on the beginning, i voted because i thought saddam hussein was a threat and i accepted that intelligence but i laid out a strict serious things to do in order to proceed from the position of strength and the president went to cincinnati and gave a speech and said. we will proceed cautiously and not make war inevitable and go with our allies. he didn't do any of those things. they left the planning in the state department and the state department desks and avoided the
advice of the army commeef of staff. they retired him. the termsr who has worked for every president since reagan said, invading iraq would be like roosevelt invading mexico in response to pearl harbor. that's what we have here. what we need now is a president who understands how to bring these other countries together to recognize their stakes. they do have stakes in it. the arab countries have a stake. the european countries in not having total disorder on their doorstep. he hasn't held the sum myths that pull people together and get them to invest in those stakes. in fact, he has done them the opposite. he pushed them away. he pushed away kofi anan.
for halliburton, they issued a member rapid dumb saying if you weren't with us in the war, don't bother applying for any construction. that's not a way to invite people. president bush: that is absurd. the u.n. was invited in and we support the u.n. efforts there. they pulled out after sergio got killed but now helping with elections. my opponents said we didn't have any allies in this war. what does he say to tony blair r alexander from poland. those serving side by side with american troops in iraq. plus he says the cornerstone of his plan is to call upon nations to serve. what's the message? please join us in iraq for a grand diversion? join us for a war that is a
wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time. i know how these people think. i deal with them all the time. i sit down with the world leaders frequently and talk to them on the phone. they are not going to follow someone who says this is the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time and not going to follow someone whose cor convictions keep changing. there are sum myths being held. japan is going to have a summit for the donors. $14,000 pledged and the president is going to call countries to account and contribute and arab summit. and colin powell helped set up that summit. senator kerry: the united nations offered help after baghdad fell and we never picked him up on that and do what is necessary to transfer authority and transfer reconstruction. it was always america.
secondly, when we went in, there were three countries. that's not a grand coalition. we can do better. president bush: i forgot poland and now 30 nations involved, standing side by side with our american troops. and i honor their sacrifices and i don't appreciate that you denigrate the contributions of these brave soldiers. you cannot lead the world if you don't honor the contributors. that's not how you bring people together. our coalition is strong and will remain strong so long as i'm the president. host: new question, mr. president. two minutes. you said there was a quote miscalculation of what the conditions would be in post-war iraq. what was the miscalculation and how did it happen? president bush: what i said was because we achieved such a rapid
ictory, more of the saddam loyalists were around. we had more of them going in. but because tommy franks did a great job in planning operations, we moved rapidly. and a lot of the baathists and saddam loyalists laid down their arms and disappeared. i thought they would stay and fight, but they didn't and now we're fighting them. and it's hard work. and i understand how hard it is, i get the casualty reports every day and i see on the tv screens how hard it is. but it's necessary work. and i'm optimistic, you can be realistic and optimistic at the same time. i know we won't achieve if we send mixed signals. we won't achieve our objective if we send mixed signals to our
troops, our friends, the iraqi citizens. we have a plan in place. the elections will be in january. the plan said we will train iraqi soldiers and we are. nato is now helping. jordan's helping train police. u.a.e. is helping train police. we allocated $7 billion over the next months for reconstruction efforts and we are making progress there. and our lives are strong. there is going to be a summit of the arab nations. japan will be hosting a summit. we are making progress. it is hard work to go from a tyranny to a democracy. hard work to go from a place where people get their hands cut off or executed to a place where people are free. but it's necessary work. and a free iraq will make this world a more peaceful place.
host: 90 seconds. senator kerry: what troubles a lot of people in our country is that the president described one kind of mistake. but what he has said is that even knowing there were no weapons of mass destruction, even knowing there was no imminent threat and no connection of al qaeda, he would still have done everything the same way, those are his words. now, i would not. what i'm trying to do is talk the truth to the american people and the world. the truth is what good policy and leadership is based on. the president says i'm denigrating these troops. i have nothing but respect for the british and tony blair and what they have been willing to do. but you can't tell me that when the most troops any other country on the ground is great britain, 8,300 and below 4,000 and below there isn't anybody
out of the hundreds that we have a coalition to get this job done. you can't tell me on the day we went into that war and it started, it was the united states, the america and great britain and one or two others. and today we are 90% of the casualties and 90% of the costs. and north korea has gotten nuclear weapons. talked about mixed messages. the president said we can't allow countries to get nuclear weapons. they have. i'll change that. host: new country, senator kerry, two minutes. you have repeatedly accused president bush not here tonight but elsewhere before of not telling the truth about iraq essentially of lying to the american people about iraq. give us examples of what you consider to be his not telling the truth. >> i never ever used the harshest word. i will tell you that i don't think he has been candid with
the american people. we all know in his state of the union message, he told congress about nuclear materials that didn't exist. we know that he promised america that he was going to build this coalition. i just described the coalition. it is not the kind of coalition we would describe when talking about voting for this. the president said he would exhaust the remedies of the united nations and go through that full process. he didn't. he cut it off sort of ash temporarily. and we know there were further efforts under way and decided that the time for diplomacy was over and rushed to war without planning for what happens afterwards. now, he mislead the american people when he said we'll plan people. they didn't. he said we would go to war as a last resort. we did not go as a last resort. and most americans know the difference.
now this has cost us deeply in the world. i believe that it is important to tell the truth to the american people. i have worked with those leaders and worked with them for 20 years longer than this president. i know what they say and i know how to bring them back to the table. fresh start, new credibility, a president who can understand what we have to do to reach out to the muslim world to make it clear that this is -- osama bin laden uses the invasion of iraq in order to go after people and say america has declared war on islam. we need to be smarter about how we wage a war on terror. we need them to deny the recruits and safe havens. we need to rebuild our alliances, ronald reagan and john kennedy did that more effectively and i'm going to follow them in their footsteps. president bush: he said osama bin laden uses the invasion of
iraq as an excuse to spread hatred for america. osama bin laden didn't determine how we are going to determine ourselves. he doesn't get to decide. the american people decide. i decided. the right action was in iraq. my opponent calls it a mistake, it wasn't a mistake. e said i misled in iraq. i don't think he was misleading it that was right to disarm iraq in the spring of 2003. i don't think he misled you when didn't have the judgment -- i don't think he was misleading. what is misleading is to say you can lead and succeed in iraq if you keep changing your positions. on this war, and he has. as the politics change, positions change. and that's not how a commander
in chief acts. the intelligence i looked at was the same intelligence my opponent looked at. very same intelligence. and when i sood up there and spoke to the congress, i was speaking off the same intelligence to support the authorization of force. host: 30 seconds. senator kerry: i wasn't misleading when i said it was a threat, nor was i misleading on the day the president decided to go to war when i said he made a mistake in not building strong alliances and would have preferred more diplomacy. i have had one consistent position that saddam hussein was the threat and right way to disarm and wrong way and the president chose the wrong way. you cannot h:
change positions on this war in terror and i expect to win. we are being challenged like never before and we have a duty to our country and future generations of america to achieve a free iraq and free afghanistan and rid the world of weapons of mass destruction. host: new question, two minutes. has the war in iraq been worth he cost of american lives, 1,0 52 as of today? president bush: every life matters. those who lost a son, daughter or husband and wife. i think about missy johnson, fantastic young lady i met in
south carolina. they came to see me. her husband had been killed. killed in afghanistan. knowingd work to try to full well that the decision i made caused her loved one to be in harm's way. i told her after we prayed and teared up and laughed some, that i thought her husband's sacrifice was noble and worthy. because i understand the stakes of this war on terror. i understand that we must find al qaeda wherever they hide. we must deal with threats before they fully material materialize and saddam hussein was a threat and that we must spread liberty, because in the long run, the way
to defeat hatred, tyranny and oppression is to spread freedom. missy understood that. that's what she told me her husband understood. when you say was it worth it? every life is precious. that's what distinguishes us from the enemy. everybody matters, but i think it's worth it, jim. i know in the long-term a free iraq, a free afghanistan will set such a powerful example in a part of the world that are desperate for freedom. will change the world where we can look back and said we did our duty. host: senator, 90 seconds. senator kerry: i understand what the president is talking about because i know what it means to lose people in combat. and the question, is it worth the cost reminds me of my own thinking when i came from fighting in that war and it
reminds me that it is vital for not to confuse the war ever with the warriors. that happened before. and that's one of the reasons why i believe i can get this job done, because i am determined for those soldiers and those families, for those kids who put their lives on the line, that is noble. that's the most noble thing anybody can do. and i want to make sure the outcome honors that nobblet. now we have a choice here. i've laid out a plan by which i think we can be successful in iraq with the summit, by doing better training, faster. by doing what we need to do with respect to the u.n. and the elections. only 25% of the people in there. they can't have an election in there right now. the president's not getting the job done. the choice for america is, you can have a plan that i laid out in four points, each of which i
can tell you more about or go to johnkerry.com or you can have the president's plan which is four words. much of the same. my plan is better and fighting for those troops. i will never let those troops down and hunt and kill the terrorists wherever they are. i understand what it means to be the commander in chief and if i were ever to say this is the wrong war, wrong time, the troops would wonder, how can i follow this guy? you cannot lead the war on terror if you keep changing positions on the war on terror. and say things well, this is just a grand diversion. it's not a grand diversion. it's essential we get it right. the plan he talks about simply won't work.
host: senator kerry, you have 30 seconds. senator kerry: colin powell told this president the pot erie barn rule, if you break it, you fix it. if you break it, you made a mistake and it's the wrong thing to do, but you own it, about you have to fix it. that's what we have to do. soldiers know over there this isn't being done right yet. i'm going to get it right for those for the soldiers. it's important for the fight on terror. i have a plan to do it. he doesn't. host: new question, senator kerry, two minutes, can you give us specifics, in terms of a scenario, time lines et cetera for ending u.s. military involvement in iraq? senator kerry: the time line i've set out and want to correct
the president because he misled this evening on what i said. i didn't say i would bring troops out in six months. i said if we do the things that i set out and we are successful, we could begin to draw the troops down in six months. a critical component of success in iraq is being able to convince the iraqis in the arab world that the united states doesn't have long-term designs on it. as i understand it, we are building 14 military bases there now and some people say there is a permanent concept here. when you guard the oil ministry but not the nuclear facilities, the message is well, maybe they are interested in our oil. they didn't think these through properly and this is what you have to think through. i want to change the dynamics on the ground. and you have to do that by beginning to back off fallujah and send the wrong message to the terrorists.
you have to close the borders and show you are serious in that regard, but you've got to show that you are prepared to bring the rest of the world in and share the stakes. i will make a flat statement. the united states of america has no long-term designs in staying in iraq. and our goal and my administration would be to get all of the troops out of there with the minimal amount you need for training and logistics as we do with other countries to be able to sustain the peace. but that's how we are going to win the peace by rapidly training the iraqis. even the administration has admitted they haven't done the training because they came back to congress and asked for a complete reprogramming of the money. what greater mission is there, 16 months afterwards, oops, we haven't done the job and start to spend the money now, would you give us permission to shift it over into training. president bush: there is 100,000 troops trained, police, guard,
special units, border patrol. 125,000 trained by the end of this year. we are getting the job done. it's hard work. everybody knows it's hard work because there is a determined enemy trying to defeat us. my opponent says he is going to change the dynamics on the ground. well, prime minister alawi was here and he was a brave man and when he came after giving a speech to the congress, my opponent questioned his credibility. you can't change the dynamics on the ground if you've criticized the brave leader of iraq. one of his campaign people alleged that prime minister alawi was like a puppet. no way to treat someone who is courageous and brave. the way to make sure that we succeed is to send consistent,
sound messages to the iraqi people that when we give our word, we will keep our word, that we stand with you, that we believe you want to be free. and i do. i believe that 25 million people, the vast majority long to have elections. i reject this notion and i reject the notion that some say if you are muslim, you can't be free. i strongly disagree with that. senator kerry: i couldn't agree more that the iraqis want to be free and could be free. the president still hasn't shown how he is going to go about the right way. prime minister alawi came here and he said the terrorists are pouring over the border. assessment. 's best case scenario, more of the
same of what we see today. worst-case scenario, civil water. i can do better. president bush: the reason the prime minister said is because he recognizes a central part on the war on terror and fighting us because they are fighting freedom. a free afghanistan or a free iraq will be a major defeat for them and those are the stakes and that's why it is essential we not leave and hold the line and essential to win and we will. we are going to win this war in iraq. host: does the iraq experience make it more likely or less likely that you would take the united states into another preempttive military action? president bush: i would hope i would never have to. i understand how hard it is to commit troops. i never wanted to commit troops. when we had the debate in 2000, i never dreamed of doing that.
the enemy attacked us and i have a solemn duty to protect the american people and do everything i can to protect us. i think that by speaking clearly and doing what we say and not sending mixed messages, it is less likely we will have to use troops, but a president must be willing to use troops as a last resort. i was hopeful diplomacy would work in iraq. it was falling apart. there was no doubt in my mind that saddam hussein was hoping that the world would turn a blind eye. if he had been in power and let's hope what we are talking about, maybe the 18th resolution would have worked. he would have been stronger and tougher and the world would have been worst off. so we used diplomacy every chance we get, believe me.
and i would hope never have to use force. but by speaking clearly and sending messages that we mean what we say, we have affected the world in a positive way. look at libya. libya was a threat. libya is now peacefully dismantling its weapons programs. libya understood that america and others will enforce doctrine and the world is better for it. to answer your question, i hope we never have to. by acting firmly, it would mean less likely to use force. senator kerry: the president just said something extraordinarily revealing and frankly very important in this debate. in answer to your question about iraq and sending people into iraq, he just said the enemy attacked us. saddam hussein didn't attack us. osama bin laden attacked us.
al qaeda attacked us. and when we had osama bin laden cornered in the mountains, 1,000 of his cohorts in the mountains. with american military forces nearby and in the field, we didn't use the best trained troops in the world to kill the number one criminal terrorist. they outsourced the job to afghan warlords who earlier had been on the other side fighting against us. that's the enemy that attacked us. that's the enemy allowed to walk out of the mountains and in 60 countries with stronger recruits. he said saddam hussein would have been stronger. that is just factually incorrect. 2/3 of the country was in the no-fly zone. we would have had sanctions and the u.n. inspectors. and saddam hussein would have been weakening.
if the president had shown the patience to sit down with the leaders and say what do you need? how much more will it take for you to join us, we would be in a tronger place today. president bush: i know that osama bin laden attacked us and to think another round of resolutions would have caused saddam hussein to disarm, disclose is ludicrous. we tried diplomacy and did our best. and yes he would have been stronger. he had the capability of making weapons and he would have made weapons. senator kerry: 35 to 40 countries in the world. and while he's been diverted with nine out of 10 active duty
going to iraq or coming back from iraq, north korea's gotten nuclear weapons. iran is moving towards nuclear weapons. darfur has a genocide. i would have made a better choice. host: what is your position on the whole concept of preempttive war. senator kerry: the president has had the right for preempttive strike that was the doctrine throughout the cold war. no president through all of american history has ever ceded and nor would it right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the united states of america. you have to do it in a way that passes the test. passes the global test where your countrymen your people
understand fully what you are doing and you can prove to the world that you are doing it for legitimate reasons. we have our own secretary of state that had to apologize to the world for the presentation he made to the united nations. we can remember president kennedy and cuban missile crisis nt his secretary of state to paris to meet with did he gall. e said let me show you the photos and degall said no, no, the word of the president of the united states is good for me. how many leaders would respond to us as a result of what we have done in that way? so what is the test here is the credibility of the united states of america and how we lead the world and iran and iraq -- iran and north korea are more dangerous. whether preemption is what has to happen or not, i don't know. as president, i will never take
my eye off that ball. i have been fighting for anti-proliferation the entire time i'm in the congress and this president has turned away treaties. you don't help yourselves with other nations when you turn yourself from the global warming treaty or redue fuse to deal at length with the united nations. you have to earn that respect. host: 90 seconds. president bush: i'm not exactly what it means when it pass a global test. you pass a global test. my attitude you take preempttive action in order to protect the american people that you act in order to make this country secure. my opponent talks about me not signing certain treatees. let me tell you one thing i didn't sign and shows the difference of our opinion and
difference of opinions. and that is i wouldn't join the international criminal court. body based in the hmp arch gue where an unaccountable judges and prosecutors pull our troops, our diplomats up for trial. i wouldn't join it. i know certain capitals around the world, that wasn't a popular move, but it's the right move not to join a foreign court where our people could be prosecuted. my opponent is for joining the international criminal court. i just think trying to be popular in the global sense if it's not in our best interest makes no sense. i'm interested in working with other nations and do a lot of it, but i'm not going to make decisions that are wrong for america.
host: new question, do you believe that diplomacy and sanctions can resolve the nuclear problems with north korea and iran. take it in any order. president bush: north korea, first, i do. i certainly hope so. before i was sworn in, the policy of this government was to have bilateral negotiations with north korea. and we signed an agreement with north korea that my administration found out that was not being honored by the north koreans. and so i decided that a better way to approach the issue was to get other nations involved, just besides us. and in crawford, texas, john and agreed that nuclear weapons free korea was in our interest and the world's interest. we began a dialogue with north
korea, not only included north korea but china. china has a lot of influence over north korea. as well, we included south korea, japan and russia and now ve voices similarring to kim jung il. if he decides not to honor our agreement, he is not only doing injustice to america but injustice to china as well. i think this will work. won't work -- he wants to unravel the six-party talks or five-nation coalition that's sending him a clear message. on iran i hope we can continue to work with the world and tell them to abandon their nuclear ambitions. we worked with france, germany and great britain who have been the folks delivering the message
to the mullahs, do you expect to be part of the world of nations. the iaea is involved. a special protocol has been passed. i hope we can do it. and we have a good strategy. host: senator kerry, 90 seconds. senator kerry: with respect to iran, the british, french and germans were the those that initiated an effort to curb the nuclear possibilities in iran. i believe we could have done better. i think the united states should have offered the opportunity to provide the nuclear fuel, test them, see whether or not they were actually looking for peaceful purposes and if they weren't, we could have put sanctions together. the president did nothing. with respect to north korea, the real story, we had inspectors and television cameras within the nuclear reactor.
secretary bill perry negotiated that under president clinton and we knew where the fuel rods were nd the limits on their nuclear power. secretary of state said we are going to work with the north koreans and the president reversed him while the president of north korea was here. and went gns his policy and for two years this administration didn't talk at all to north korea. why they didn't talk at all. the fuel rods came out. the inspectors were kicked out and so were the television cameras and four to seven nuclear weapons in the hands of north korea. that happened on this president's watch. that is a mixed message. host: in this one minute, i want to make sure that the people understand the differences etween the two of you on this.
i want bilateral talks that put all of the issues, the economic issues, the human rights issues, the utility disposal issues and the nuclear issues on the table. that's where you are breaking the agreement. my opponent said he worked to put sanctions on iran. we have already sanctioned iran. can't sampings them anymore. there are sanctions in place on iran. and timely we were a party after working with germany, france and great britain to send their foreign ministers in iran. host: you mentioned darfur, the
darfur region of sudan, 50,000 people have died, more than one million are homeless and labeled an act of ongoing genocide, neither one of you that i can find has discussed the possibility of sending in troops. why not? senator kerry: i'll tell you why not but i want to say something about those sanctions on iran. only the united states put the sanctions on alone and that's what i'm talking about. in order for the sanctions to be effective, we should have been working with the french, british and germans and that's the difference between the president and me and he slid by the question. with respect to darfur, yes, it is a genocide. and months ago, many of us were pressing for action. the reason we are not saying send in american troops. number one, we can do this through the african union
providing we give them the support. all the president is providing is humanitarian support. we need to do more than that. they have to have the capacity to go in and stop the killing and that's going to require more than what is. ask the people in the armed forces today. we've got guards and reserves who are doing double duties. we have a back-door draft taking place. people would stop loss programs told where you can't get over the military. either going, coming or preparing. so this is the way the president has overextended the united states. that's why in my plan i add two active duty divisions to the united states army, not for iraq, but for our general demands across the globe. i also intend to double the number of special forces so we can do the job we need to do to
fight the terrorists from around the world. if we do that, we have the ability to respond more rapidly. as president if it took american forces to some agree to cow aless the african union we could never allow another rwanda. president bush: back to iran just for a second. it was not my administration that put the sanctions on iran. that happened long before i arrived in washington, d.c.,. it'srms of darfur, i agree genocide and colin powell so stated. we've committed $200 million worth of aid with a leading donor to help the suffering people there. we will commit moreover time to help. we were very much involved at the u.n. on the sanction policy
of the bash irgovernment in the sudan. ambassador fur, danforth was negotiating an agreement that would have hoped brought peace to sudan. we shouldn't be committing troops but working with the african union to do so, precisely what we did in liberia and helped stabilize the situation. my hope is that the african union moves rapidly to help save lives. and the rainy season will be ending shortly which we'll be able to get aid there and help the suffering. host: as we have heard major policy differences between the two of you. are there also underlying character issues that you believe, that you believe are
serious enough to deny senator kerry the job as commander in chief of the united states? president bush: bush that's a loaded question. first of all, i admire senator kerry's service to our country. i admire the fact that he is a great dad. appreciate the fact that his daughters have been so kind to y daughters in what has been pretty hard experience for young girls seeing their dads out there campaigning. i admire the fact that he served for 20 years in the senate. although i'm not so sure i admire the record. i won't hold it against him that he went to yale. nothing wrong with that. my concerns about the senator is that in the course of this campaign, i have been listening
carefully and changes positions on the war in iraq and changes positions on something fundamental in what you believe in your core, your heart of hearts. you cannot lead if you send mixed messages. mixed messages send a wrong signal to our troops, mixed messages send the wrong signals to our allies. mixed messages send the wrong message to our iraqis. i admire his service but i just know how this world works and that in the councils of government, there must be certainty from the u.s. president. of course we change tactics when we need to but never change the strategic beliefs that are necessary to protect this country and the world.
host: 90-second response, senator. senator kerry: i appreciate enormously the personal comments the president just made and i share them with him. if you are doing this and he's done it more than i have in terms of the presidency, can you begin to get a sense of what it means to your families and it's tough. . i acknowledge his daughters i chuckled a few times at some of the comments. i have great respect and admiration for his wife. i think she is a terrific person and great first lady, but we do have differences. not going to talk about difference of character. that's not my job or my business, but let me talk about something that the president finished up with, maybe someone
would call it a character trait, maybe somebody wouldn't. but this issue of certainty, it's one thing to be certain, but you can be certain and be wrong. it's another to be certain and right or be certain and moving in the right direction and be certain about a new principle and learn new facts and take new facts and put them to use. what i worry with the president is that he is not acknowledging what's on the ground and not acknowledging the realities of north korea or the truth of the science of stem cell research, global warming and other issues. certainty can get you in trouble. president bush: i fully agree that one should shift tactics and we will in iraq. commanders have got all the flexibility to do what is necessary to succeed. but what i won't to do is change my core values because of politics or pressure.
and one of the things i have learned in the white house is that there is enormous pressure on the president and cannot wilt under that pressure because otherwise, the world wont be better off. host: 30 seconds. senator kerry: i have no intention of wilting and never wilted in my life and i never wavered in my life. i know what we have to do in iraq and my position has been consistent. saddam hussein is a threat. he needed to be disarmed and needed to go to the u.n. the president needed the authority to use force in order to get him to do something because he never did it without the threat of force. but we didn't need to rush to war without a plan to win the peace. host: senator kerry, two minutes, if you are elected president, what will you take to that office thinking is the single most serious threat to the national security of the united states? senator kerry: nuclear
proliferation. nuclear proliferation. there is some 600-plus tons of unsecured materials in the former soviet union and russia. the president is currently securing that. called the new war, which saw the difficulties of this international criminal network and back then, we interpreted a suitcase in the middle eastern country with nuclear materials in it and the black market price was $250 million. terrorists are trying to get their hands on that stuff today and this president i regret to say has secured less nuclear material in the last two years since 9/11 than we did in the two years preceding 9/11. we have to do this job. and to do the job, you can't cut the money for it. the president cut the money for
it. you have to put the money in it, the funding and leadership and part of that leadership is sending the right message to places like north korea. the president is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to research bunker-busting nuclear weapons. the united states is pursuing a new set of nuclear weapons. it doesn't make sense. you talk about mixed messages and we are telling people, you can't pursue nuclear weapons but we are contemplating a nuclear weapon. we are going to shut that program down and make it clear we are serious about containing nuclear proliferation and get the job of containing that material in four years and build the strongest international network. this is the scale of what president kennedy set out to do with the nuclear test ban treaty. i intend to get it done.
host: 90 seconds. bush burr we increased funding for dealing with nuclear proliferation, about 35% since i have been the president. secondly, we set up what's called -- i agree with my opponent that the biggest threat facing this country is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist network. and that's why i put proliferation as one of the centerpieces of a multi pronged strategy to make the country safer. my administration was called proliferation security initiative and 60 nations involved with disrupting the transshipment of information and/or weapons of mass destruction materials. and we have been effective. khan ed the a. q.
network. to disarm libya central part of dealing with weapons of mass destruction and proliferation. another way to help protect america in the long run is to continue with missile defenses. and we have a robust research and development program that has been ongoing during my administration, we will be implementing a missile defense system and that is another way to deal with the threats we face. my opponent is opposed. host: just for this one minute discussion here, whatever seconds it takes. it's correct to say that somebody is listening to this, both of you gee, if you are re-elected mr. president and you are elected, the most serious thing is nuclear proliferation.
president bush: in the hands of a terrorist enemy. senator kerry: the test or the difference between us the president has had four years to do something about it and north korea's got more weapons. iran is moving towards weapons. and at his pace, it will take 13 years to secure those weapons in russia. i'm going to do it in four years and set out by lateral talks with north korea. host: your response. president bush: i think that is a big mistake to have talks with north korea. it will cause the six-party talks to evaporate and chipe is jung ger involved for kim il to get rid of his weapons. we must need leverage. if you enter bilateral talks, they will be happy to walk away from the table.
i don't think that will work. host: mr. president, this is the last question and two minutes. it's a new subject, new question and has to deal with president putin and russia. did you misjudge him or do you feel that what he is doing in the name of anti-terrorism by changing some democratic processes is ok? president bush: i don't think it's ok and said so publicly. i think there needs to be checks and balances in a democracy and made that very clear that by consolidating power in a central government, he is sending a signal to the western world and united states that perhaps he doesn't believe in checks and balances and i told him that. he is a strong ally on the war on terror. they went through a horrible situation where terrorists gunned down young school kids.
it's the nature of the enemy. that's why we need to be firm and resolve and bringing them to justice. that is what vladimir putin understands as well. i have a good relation with vladimir and it's important, because that enables me to better comment to me and better discuss with him some of the decisions he made. i found out in this world that it's important to establish good personal relationship with people so when you have disagreements you are able to disagree in a way that is effective. so i have told him my opinion. i look forward to discussing it more with him as time goes on. russia is a country in transition. vladimir's going to have make hard choices and it is important for leaders to remind him of the great benefits of democracy,
hat democracy will best help the people realize their hopes, aspirations and dreams. and i will continue working with him over the next four years. host: 90 seconds, senator kerry. senator kerry: i had an extraordinary experience of watching up close and personal that transition in russia because i was there right after the transformation and probably one of the first senators along with senator bob smith to go k.g.b. with the names on files and brought home the transition to democracy that russia was trying to make. i regret what has happened in these past months and i think it goes beyond the response to terror. mr. putin controls all the television stations and his political opposition is being put in jail.
i think it's important for the united states to have a working relationship that is good. this is an important country to us and we want a partnership. but we have to stand up for democracy. as george will said, freedom on the march, not in russia. . i want to go back to one of the critical issues here, north korea. just because the president says it can't be done, you lose china, doesn't mean it can't be done. the president said there were weapons of mass destruction and we could fight the war on the cheap, none of which was true. we can get those weapons, and we can get china because china has an interest in the outcome too. host: 30 seconds, mr. president. president bush: you know my opinion on north korea. host: he used the word truth again.